Road trip stories: ‘The Promise of Tomorrow’

The TEDx Talk “The Promise of Tomorrow" in Miami was sold out. Photo by Lisa Blackburn Ullven

On the road, our next stop is across the bridges and causeways to the rooftops in Miami Beach. On this trip, we attended a sold-out TEDx Talk titled “The Promise of Tomorrow.” We are continuing our mission to explore and bring back inspiring community stories.

“The Promise of Tomorrow” sounds like a title of a Sunday sermon prompting us to look forward and rethink our future. Even off the stage in casual conversation, you could feel their intense drive to magnify the good in our world.

We asked the leaders to reflect on one fundamental question: What is the number one tip they would pass on to young people? Really, the question was designed to prompt them to think about knowledge they would want to pass on to the next generations, but their insightful answers apply to all of us.

While there were more speakers, our follow-up interviews were with experts in five diverse areas: mental health, innovation, technology, the arts and engineering. With global experts agreeing that interdependence is key to solving our world’s challenges, it was truly inspirational to see the progress that these movement leaders are making to lead the way.

Dr. Julie Radlauer-Doerfler, who has a PhD in public health and is the CEO of Collectively, argued out that a majority of the country’s mental health needs can be met by communities. When she asked the audience, “How many of you know someone with mental health issues?” everyone raised their hand. You could feel and hear the chatter and motivation to take action to improve the situation.

Leigh Ann Buchanan, the president of the Miami-Dade Innovation Authority, emphasized how not all innovators look the same, and neither should they. Illustrative of Buchanan’s point, I recall our recent story of how a group of homeless people designed and implemented a solution for student safety.

Ralph Echemendia, also known as the “Ethical Hacker,” spoke poignantly on the necessity of sharing knowledge, being more inclusive and reaching out to everyone. His daughter, Hennessy Echemendia, a songwriter and performer, was onstage with him. Echemendia shared how she conveys cyber security tips through a song, reaching more people than his lectures could ever do. We recall one impactful phrase: “If you think you have nothing to hide, then you won’t mind if I come inside.”

Dr. Landolf Rhodes Bararigos, an engineer and assistant professor at the University of Miami, was asked about the effects of climate change on our mental health and if community members could be part of the solution. He answered, “We are counting on it!” He added that we can leverage the intense power of nature too. He shared how he “Adds a pebble and teaches others to add even larger pebbles… we have a collective impact together.”

The speakers. Photo courtesy of Lisa Blackburn Ullven

Reflecting on our visit, this trip reinforced two key points. We walked away with an inspirational feeling of empowerment that the solutions are truly within us. We also realized the audience was just like us, inspired to do more, but in need of a little more detail on how to get started. Listening to the real folks in the seats, our next road trip assignment is loud and clear.

The promise of tomorrow starts now with us. Thank you and hope to see you on our next road trip stories adventure!

To view Road Trip videos, click here. To go directly to TEDx, click here.

Angie Whitehurst is an artist and vendor with Street Sense Media. Lisa Blackburn Ullven is the author of “Secrets to Sustainable Solutions.”

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